Rays at Rockies. 6:40 P.M. MST
The Colorado Rockies are in first place. As such, they are considered one of the biggest surprises thus far in 2013 (and rightfully so). There are steps along the way in this long season that will test whether they can stick as contenders or not. One such step was on this previous road trip when they rebounded from a rough series in Arizona to win a series in Los Angeles and bring their road record to 8-8 for the season.
Now comes another test. The Rockies face a proven franchise with the best manager in baseball (Joe Maddon) and two stud pitchers projected to start Friday and Saturday night. Tonight it will be Matt Moore, who comes in with a convincing and not misleading 5-0 record. If the Rockies are going to beat Moore they will have to do it without Troy Tulowitzki, who is out of the lineup with sore or “heavy” legs. The move is believed to be precautionary, which is hopefully a sign that Tulo has learned the importance of giving up one game early in the season in the interest of staying healthy for the long run.
Here is Walt Weiss‘s lineup for Friday night:
If the combination of Moore pitching and Tulowitzki sitting wasn’t enough to make things look bleak for the Rockies, Jeff Francis is on the mound. The inevitable rumblings have started that Francis could possibly be bumped from the rotation, so his urgency might be ratcheted up a bit. Here is the Rays lineup that opposes him tonight:
If this isn’t the definition of a patched together Rays lineup, then I don’t know what is. Normally you trust their team defense to be elite, but gosh, Kelly Johnson in left? You can see why the Rays rely on their pitching to win, and perhaps why they are 12-15 to start the year.